A bill to broaden school vaccine exemptions has been introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives. H.322 proposes to add conscientious and personal belief vaccine exemptions, and to remove coercive language from state vaccine exemption forms.
H.322 is sponsored by Rep. Vicki Strong (R-Albany), Rep. Lynn Batchelor (R- Derby), Rep. Mark Higley (R-Lowell), Rep. Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier), Rep. Robert LaClair (R-Barre Town) and Rep. Paul Lefebvre (I-Newark). The bill was read for the first time on Wednesday, and has been referred to the House Committee on Human Services.
Most families choose to vaccinate, but many choose to delay or selectively vaccinate. A minority opt-out of vaccinations completely.
A broad exemption policy – including religious, conscientious and personal beliefs such as H.322 proposes – will protect the right of all parents to make informed health and medical decisions for their minor children, leaving them free to accept or refuse any vaccine dose, without coercion, Health Choice Vermont said in a Feb. 25 press release.
H322 was introduced by the same tri-partisan set of lawmakers who last week introduced H283, providing the right to refuse any unwanted test, treatment, or vaccine, was introduced yesterday into the Vermont House. Sponsored by four Republicans, a Democrat, and an independent, it would specifically prevent employers and state government from requiring vaccination in exchange for jobs, travel, childcare and other benefits.
“The yearlong pandemic emergency response has left many people concerned about one-sized-fits-all medical mandates,” a Feb. 18 statement by Health Choice Vermont said. “This proposed legislation protects individual bodily autonomy and self-sovereignty, and prevents public and private entities from requiring medical treatments, interventions or vaccines in exchange for employment, travel, education, childcare, religion, benefits, insurance, or participation in sports, camps, or other recreation.”
H.283 has been assigned to the Vermont House Committee on Human Services.
In other vaccine related legislative news, the Vermont Secretary of State’s office said H289, addressing professional conduct of pharmacists, is not designed to force pharmacists to administer vaccines. Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters responded to a question from Vermont Daily with the following:
“There is nothing in the bill designed to subject a pharmacist to unprofessional conduct for refusing to administer the vaccine. At this time, we do not have any indication that the state will mandate vaccinations by pharmacists; but the bill language is not crafted to require pharmacists to vaccinate when the pharmacist has an objection.
“In your hypothetical situation where the state mandates it and a pharmacist employer requires a pharmacist to provide the vaccination and the pharmacist refuses, that is an employer/employee issue that could result in employee discipline of some sort as a business decision.
“Taking the hypothetical even further the employer could, in theory, file an unprofessional conduct complaint against the pharmacist with our office. If we received such a complaint, OPR would then consider all mitigating and aggravating factors before either closing or pursuing an unprofessional conduct case.”
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